Biomimetic Dentistry: History and Overview

biomimetically restored teethHistory of Biomimetic Materials

The word “biomimetics” was introduced in the 1950s by Otto Schmidt. Crude dental implants have been in existence since the first and second century AD, and the Chinese have used dental amalgam in treating decayed teeth since 659 AD. In the 20th century, the invention of knee joint replacement and artificial heart valves contributed to the development of biomimetic medicine. Since then, surgical reconstruction has been used to treat accidental organ and tissue loss.

The Principles of Biomimetic Dentistry

Biomimetics aims to restore the hard tissues to the teeth in order to ensure full functionality. However, no biomaterial exists that possess the same physical, optical and mechanical features as those of natural tooth structures. Therefore, biomimetic restoration uses materials with properties that are close to the tooth structure.

Composites are preferred over amalgam because they require little preparation, minimize the risk of tooth fractures, and reduce pulpal involvement. Another good biomimetic material is Glass ionomer cement which is used as lining and restorative material for various cavities. Biodentine is also another option that can be used instead of GIC.

Biomimetic Approaches for Regeneration

Below are some of the regenerative techniques that have been developed based on biomimetic approaches.

  1. Root canal revascularization

In this technique, the aim is usually to influence and facilitate the revascularization of the extracted necrotic tooth, which ensures the life of the tooth. In this procedure, regeneration occurs by your own blood cells, thereby reducing the risk of pathogen transmission and immune rejection.

  1. Stem cell therapy

This is an advanced technique that can be used to treat degenerated tissues. In this procedure, stem cells are administered into the affected root canal system. Different stem cells can be used in this treatment, and one the most common is the dental pulp stem cells. Other common cells are those that are derived from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED) which have a high proliferation rate.

  1. Gene therapy

This is a technique of inducing mineralization by delivering mineralizing genes into pulp tissue. The genes can either have viral vectors (retrovirus, adenovirus, and lentivirus) or non-viral vectors (plasmids, gene guns, sonoporation, and peptides)

  1. Pulp implantation

This technique involves generating pulp tissue in the laboratory through tissue engineering process, then transplanting it into the root canal system. Researchers have proven that dental pulp-like tissue can be developed using a mix of dentin matrix protein I, dental pulp stem cells, and a collagen scaffold.

  1. Injectable scaffold theory

There are many injectable biomaterials, but in tissue engineering, hydrogels are most preferred. They are noninvasive, easy to deliver using a syringe and enhance pulp regeneration by creating a substrate for cell proliferation.

  1. Artificial salivary gland development

A dry mouth is a common occurrence among patients whose salivary glands have been damaged by radiotherapy, diseases or other forms of treatments. This makes it hard to speak, chew, or swallow. Luckily, this condition can be rectified through artificial salivary glands. Doctors use adult embryonic stem cells to develop parenchymal cells and regenerate salivary gland, restoring its secretory functions.

Application of Biomimetic Techniques in Oral Surgery

There have been attempts to use biomimetic methods in oral and maxillofacial surgery. In particular, multipotent stem cells have been utilized in engineering human-shaped temporomandibular joints.

To make an appointment with Dr. Woods, for a free biomimetic dental consultation, call 619-359-6569

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